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7 challenges in native media buying

Discussion in 'Native Ads' started by Justyna Voluum DSP, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. Justyna Voluum DSP

    Justyna Voluum DSP Service Manager Service Manager affiliate

    Hey Guys,

    "Is it better to buy native ads thru a DSP or directly from advertising networks?" It's a question I'm often asked as an account manager. I'd say there’s no right answer – it depends on your needs and it’s always a good idea to test both.
    In today’s post, I will describe some of the main differences between DSP and direct media buying. Most importantly, I will list some problems/blockers* you may experience when buying directly from ad networks and explain how you can avoid them using our Voluum DSP.

    *The problems/blockers are real-life examples that I either found on various affiliate forums or our Advertisers told me or my team about. They are by no means specific or limited to one single ad network.

    Let’s start by defining a DSP

    A Demand-side Platform is a platform for purchasing digital ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges in real-time bidding auctions. In other words, a DSP aggregates inventory of various networks in one place and allows you to place bids (most commonly CPM) in real time across all of the networks.
    If you want to find out more about the RTB (real-time bidding), go ahead and watch the video I found the other day on YouTube – it’s a good one!

    What about Ad Network?

    An Ad Network is a platform that acts as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers. Ad Networks usually have their publishers’ inventory segmented and sell it to advertisers at a certain price (most commonly CPC).

    The main difference

    DSPs aggregate inventory from multiple ad networks and ad exchanges, so when buying thru a DSP you have the broadest possible choice of ad inventory. Now let’s proceed to the blockers that Advertisers face with Native Ads.

    Challenges you might experience when buying directly from different Ad Networks

    1. Investing your time
    Usually, if you are buying traffic from a couple of native ad networks at the same time, you need to spend some time learning how to navigate through their platforms, how to open a new campaign and what features they provide for optimizing and scaling, not to mention logging in and out from one platform to another.

    With one network it might take 3 minutes to open a new campaign in your client panel, targeting specific audiences, with another one you might need to upload an Excel file with campaign info. Then it might take more time for the compliance team to review and approve the campaign. Also, you may find it painful to create numerous campaigns to test a few creatives. At the end of the day, you might feel confused with all of the differences between the networks and their policies, requirements, compliance guidelines, approval times, etc.

    Our solution:
    End-to-end campaign creation tool – with our Auto-Split by Ad Exchange and Auto-Split by Device Type features, you are able to open multiple campaigns running separately with different networks on Mobile, Desktop and Tablet. Let’s say, you want to test RevContent and MGID. You can quickly open 6 campaigns: RevContent Desktop, RevContent Mobile, RevContent Tablet, MGID Desktop, MGID Mobile and MGID Tablet.
    You can easily test various networks and various device types by just opening one single campaign creation form. Also, you are good to bulk upload your creatives and test different headlines.




    When you register to our DSP, you are immediately assigned an Account Manager who comes back to you within 1 working day offering a full onboarding and sharing some insights on the inventory you are looking to target. You are always welcome to have a quick 15-minute demo call to learn the platform better and discuss your business needs. Don’t hesitate to ask for a placement list - our AMs have plenty of them handy or they can create custom ones for you!

    Also, we have a great team of Approval Soldiers working 24/7 to ensure you that TIME IS MONEY - the sooner a campaign gets approved, the sooner it starts earning!

    2. Little transparency and control

    Another problem you might have is little or no control over the placements you get traffic from. Some advertising networks do not report the specific domain names/sites or apps, others don’t offer custom bidding on placements (sites, apps or widgets). Controlling your spend may also be a challenge. You might be struggling with huge overspends with one platform and hit hard times being unable to spend your daily budget with another one.

    Our solution:
    The one-and-only Planning Tool with daily bid requests, eCPMs and bid floors that also allows you to check a list of available placements with selected Ad Exchange. You can basically check on all the inventory from all of the Ad Exchanges we are integrated with any time. In the Planning Tool, you can also create whitelists or blacklists by yourself.

    Now, to help you control your spend we offer a variety of features. Let me list some of them that our Advertisers find the most useful:

    • Bid recommendation tooltip (4 bid ranges taking into account your targeting)
    • Max. daily spend per campaign and max. daily spend per placement (site, app, widget)
    • Spend Strategy (Smooth versus ASAP)

    Read about them in our documentation.

    That’s not all! To help you better control your spend, we also have our auto-optimization tool which uses a machine learning algorithm that automatically optimizes your campaigns towards your specified performance goals (CPA, CPC, CPV or iCTR) so you can auto-optimize your cost or number of clicks on your banners. I will elaborate on it in point 6 - Automation.

    4. Lack of live data
    A lot of our Advertisers complain about the lack of live data about their campaigns’ performances. Most of them would like to act quickly if they see their budget is getting drained. Some networks tend to have a-few-hours lag in reporting real-time stats, some are lacking drill-down reports that are essential for good optimization.

    Our solution:
    Real-time reporting: with easily accessible, rich, live data, you are empowered to analyze and monetize your campaigns. What’s more, you can use drill-down reports to get a more granular stats or grouping to narrow the data to see only the stats that match your selected criteria. Read more about Voluum reporting.

    5. Poor targeting
    Sometimes you may need traffic only from specific regions, states, cities or mobile carriers for your offers. Sometimes you may need to target IP addresses or the IP ranges. Not all native ad networks allow you to narrow down your targeting that much. Not all of them offer widget or site/app targeting, so the only option is to run RON.

    Our solution:
    Advanced geo, inventory and device targeting
    - Voluum DSP allows you to target countries, states, regions and cities. You can go even further and use IP targeting (both single IPs and IP ranges). If that’s not enough, you can specify what OS and OS versions you would like your ads to appear on. You can also whitelist or blacklist sites, apps or widget IDs.

    6. No automation
    Auto-optimization of bids and targeting has already become a standard in RTB, so it’s offered by the majority of the biggest networks but not for all Advertisers, especially new Advertisers. Als,o the way it works differs between the platforms. In turn, more sophisticated automation tools are not yet an industry standard. The reason behind it, I guess, is that not all Advertisers are keen on running on auto-pilot.

    Our solution:
    In Voluum DSP we have auto-rules AKA automatic pausing of widgets, sites, creatives, browsers, etc. under certain conditions. For example, if the CTR gets lower than X and the cost is higher than Y.
    We also have auto-optimization AKA automatic micro-bidding - our machine learning algorithm pilots your campaign towards your desired goal (iCTR, CPC, CPV, CPA).

    Automation works great and it can definitely help to boost performance, but it doesn’t mean that you can stop watching over your campaigns and let them run for weeks without lifting a finger. I always advise my Clients to monitor their stats on a daily basis and take manual adjustments if they think they’re needed.

    7. Difficulty in mastering native
    “Native ain’t nothing easy” - this is what I usually see on forums. It’s not only about the fact that it requires more creative skills (coming up with new, good performing creatives that work well), attention to detail, optimization (chasing good placements), it’s also the fact that many networks do not invest a lot of time in educating their Advertisers about this type of traffic.
    There are only a few tutorials on various forums, the documentation doesn't cover all questions Advertisers might have, Account Managers might not dedicate enough time. Also, eMarketer mentions these problems in their article about US native advertising in 2019.

    Our solution:
    Proactive community and account management - we’re doing our best to provide our Advertisers and forum communities with step-by-step tutorials, best practices, educational videos, platform insights and pro tips. Basically, whatever you might need, no matter if you are just diving into native or are already a veteran. Our Account Managers are taking care of each and every Client regardless of their spend.

    Hope you find my post useful. As usual, I’m looking forward to your comments and feedback[​IMG]
  2. Voluum
  3. JonathanB

    JonathanB Affiliate Manager Affiliate Manager affiliate

    Thanks for this cool post. I'll definitely have to re-read it again. My biggest challenge in running Native was that I always had HUNDREDS of placements, that only had 1 click - but in total the campaign spent $100's (on 500-1.000 widgets) which made it pretty much impossible to optimize. :/
    Osman likes this.